Are You Eating and Drinking Poison?

Never have I been more aware of what I put into my mouth to satisfy my cravings or hunger pangs.  I love good food period.  Good food that comes from my kitchen. 

My relationship with good food dates back to when I was a young girl back in Manila, eagerly watching my mom cook and going with her to the wet market (farmer's market) to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fishes (sometimes live) and other seafoods depending on what we could find, fresh beef and pork, and live chickens.

Lechon, kaldereta, paksiw na pata, nilagang baka, morcon, embutido, callos, sinigang na baboy, relyenong manok, pastel de lengua, dinuguan, and other high in saturated fats and artery clogging dishes that we enjoyed cooking and eating.  For desserts, I would bake cakes, breads, or make some delicious native delicacies like leche flan, macapuno, ube, all filled with refined white sugar (simple carbohydrates) and butter.  Lots and lots of them. 

Our bagoong (salted shrimp fry), a delicious side seasoning for kare-kare, a dish made out of cow's tail and tripe with creamy toasted ground peanuts and rice is addicting.  It's good with almost everything even with green mango salad.  Our mouth-watering adobo is made out of chicken, pork or even beef if you like, cooked with dark soy sauce, salt, garlic, and vinegar.  Very rich, very delicious, very bad for you.

Some who can't resist eating them would justify their weakness by saying "paminsan minsan lang" meaning every once in a while only.  But if you count the many times of "paminsan minsan lang" in one year, that's going to be a lot.

We now know that saturated fat is not a good fat. They solidify in room temperature. They also clog the arteries of your heart and eventually might give you a heart attack.  Examples of this kind of fat is animal fat.  Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc. But we also  need protein in our body as our daily nutritional requirement and animal meat contains the highest in protein.  Just make sure you cut the fat out and just eat a small portion. Saturated fat can also be found in butter, whole milk, ice cream, chocolates, etc.  My nutritionist emphasized that the size of meat I should eat should just be the size of my palm with all fingers folded inwards.

What about monounsaturated fat the good fat?  Where can we get them?  Olive oil and canola oil are high in monounsaturated fats.  This fat is beneficial to our body. It helps in lowering your LDL (low-density liporotein) and in increasing your HDL(high-density lipoptotein) density .

Too much LDL (bad cholesterol) circulating in the blood can build up in the inner walls of arteries that supply blood to the heart and brain, They form a hardened plaque which narrows the arteries and make them less flexible. A heart attack or stroke can result  if a clot clogs and narrows an artery.  On the other hand, high levels of HDL the good cholesterol seem to protect against heart attack.  They seem to remove more of the bad cholesterol.

Another good and beneficial fat to our body is Omega 3 and Omega 6 which can be found in some nuts, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Like the monounsaturated fat, they help lower your LDL and increase you HDL.

There's also the polyunsaturated fat which is high in omega 3 and omega 6 which lowers our LDL and increases our HDL just like the monounsaturated fats.  But this fat is unstable and doesn't last very long. They easily go rancid.  Most food manufacturers harden this fat or "hydrogenate" them to make the cookies, chocolates, doughnuts, and other foods they make to last longer in the shelf.  When polyunsaturated fats are hardened and turned into "hydrogenated oil", they become bad fats.  These are the trans fats which is really bad for you.  Stay away from them.

Sodium elevates your blood pressure.  We all know that now.  I have now been cooking with minimal salt if not without.  Lemon and ground pepper, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar are my favorite seasonings.  I stay away from sodium if I could. 

We all know that sugar is carbohydrate. Carbohydrates give us energy. There's the simplex carbohydrate and the complex carbohydrate.  Opt for the complex carbohydrate for energy.  They last longer compared to simple carbs.  Example of simple carb is white refined sugar. Sugar is an empty calorie.  Complex carbs are derived from whole grains, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. and they are packed with vitamins and mineral that you need daily. 

The key is portion and moderation. Saturated fats, sodium, and sugar are the three things my doctor advised me to watch out for.  There are other poisons like alcohol, foods with sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, preservatives, carcinogens, artificial coloring, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, that people love to eat and drink. They accumulate in your body and they are silent killers. They are so disguised that people enjoy them never realizing that these poisons are silently and slowly killing their livers, shutting down their kidneys forever, damaging their hearts, if not the causing some cancers.

I'm so lucky Kaiser offers so many classes to learn about different kinds of diseases and what to do about them when you get sick.  Just sign up and attend classes.  I learned a lot and I'm still learning.  They have different programs to make yourself fit and healthy streamlined to your health situation. 

I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist.  I am not an expert in any of these fields.  I happen to be taking a high dose of high blood pressure pills, borderline to becoming diabetic, and now taking heart medicines. I am now aware of the long term effects of a bad lifestyle.  It is never too late to make some changes, to be more aware of our health and the fatal effects of overindulgence. Take care of yourself. Life is a gift.

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